The Dying and the Dead is ultimately two stories smashed into one, as Hickman sets up a very simple theme. Namely, that love is precious, but that it’s also fleeting, subject to the whims and tragedies and hardships of time. The first half of this story has the action-packed hook needed to bring readers in, […]

Shakey Graves is the stage name of Austin, Texas-based singer, songwriter, and musician Alejandro Rose-Garcia, who is probably better known under his real name as an actor, having appeared in several movies and who has had a recurring role in the television series Friday Night Lights. As a musician, however, he’s his own species, really, […]

Take It Like A Man is the wonderful and often strange result of the collaboration of Jim White and The Packway Handle Band, with Jim White producing. Some songs were written by White and some were written by members of the band, but all have a delicious touch of the strange, combining great bluegrass sounds with […]

Shaken, the sophomore recording by Danish singer, songwriter, and pedal steel guitarist Maggie Björklund, is an intimate, shadowy, yet cinematic offering. Its songs, vocal and instrumental, are rooted in experiences of familial and personal loss, brokenness, and grief (some were inspired by visiting her dying mother in hospital). They go beyond melancholy to reveal the […]

Lord dying

Let’s start with the basics. A band called Lord Dying were always going to be good, right? Of course. 2013’s rumbling debut ‘Summon the Faithless’ quickly launched the Portland quartet to the forefront of the ever-growing sludge/doom scene. We come now to the potentially awkward second album phase of the band’s career. A time that […]

Alabama-based family band Pine Hill Haints quietly toiled away at their own breed of ghostly hootenanny sounds, churning out records and touring ceaselessly since their inception in the late ‘90’s, developing an especially haunted take on Southern roots music that included notes of rockabilly, honky tonk, and traditional bluegrass, all filtered through an especially eerie […]

A Björk album is always a guarantee of quality, but of lasting intrigue outside the fan-base? Not always. Vulnicura is an event with a capital E, and one anyone won’t soon forget. The event in question is the dissolution of her relationship Matthew Barney, and it is pretty devastating when stepping through the record’s scorched grounds. Structurally, […]

The fifth long-player from the Justin Ringle-led Portland, Oregon-based indie folk ensemble, So It Is With Us commences with the Stones-ian “Violently Wild,” a Let It Bleed-inspired blast of semi-propulsive Pacific Northwest Americana that finds the historically subdued collective trading in their bucolic suburban country folk for a more traditional, classic rock radio-friendly sound. “Thousand” […]


Director: James Kent. My choice this week was an educational look into history. This film drama is based on the true story of Vera Brittain (Alicia Vikander), and is taken from her memoirs. Vera was the daughter of a well-to-do family who owned their own paper mills in Hanley and Cheddleton; they lived in Buxton […]

It’s a dangerously random and randomly dangerous world in which we live, so we now have a Belle and Sebastian album for 2015 that acknowledges the dance-apocalyptic landscape in which it was conceived – sexier, crueler, and yet more fragile than ever. Stuart Murdoch and Co. are hardly the first of their indie-baroque compatriots to […]

If Lovey captured Evan Dando as he found his signature blend of punk-pop, jangle pop, and folk-rock, It’s a Shame About Ray is where he perfected that style. Breezing by in under half an hour, the album is a simple collection of sunny melodies and hooks, delivered with typical nonchalance by Dando. None of the […]

Since his earliest days in the Mekons, there’s always been a certain purposeful sloppiness in Jon Langford’s music, as the rough textures and blunt corners reflected the hard lives and mean circumstances of the people he most often wrote about. But as one of the busiest music men in Chicago, a city full of prolific […]

Perhaps it was inevitable that Sleater-Kinney would reunite. They parted ways in 2006 claiming that it was a hiatus, not a dissolution, thereby leaving the door open for a comeback — a comeback that arrived nearly ten years after the group faded away. Smartly, Sleater-Kinney don’t pick up the threads left hanging by the knotty, […]


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